Standoff

Standoff r1 ... View archive version Violent clashes are never the story's beginning.

They usually appear a long way in, after their narrative foundations have been laid. Because, you know, they happen for a reason.

It's that reason many Canadians are grasping for in the wake of this week's forceful standoff between the RCMP and opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline destined to cross the unceded territory of the Wet'suwet'en peoples.

Both Canada and British Columbia have vowed to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The pipeline was approved by the province and the Premier guaranteed First Nations had been adequately consulted.

So in the aftermath of a violent showdown, it's the obvious question: how the hell did we get here?

To unravel that question we have to turn back. Back to the foundations laid in the yearslong lead up to this news-worthy moment. To well before the story was the story.

"If anybody thought reconciliation was going to be an easy process, this is a wake up call," Indigenous legal scholar Val Napoleon told The Narwhal. "Dealing with this problem, this dispute — that's the hard work of reconciliation."

While much of the media has focused on the court-sanctioned injunction that spurred the RCMP to storm an Indigenous-held check point, Napoleon says what happened this week has far deeper roots in Canada's struggle to recognize Indigenous law.

"Where people don't believe they matter to justice, where people don't believe justice is possible, society starts to fragment."

Stay tuned this coming week for our in-depth coverage of this important story. And in the meantime, check out our contextual reporting on how one man's legal challenge could overturn the original approval of the Coastal GasLink pipeline or our reporting on B.C.'s sweetheart deal for LNG Canada, a major export terminal the pipeline will supply.

Also, we started 2019 off with a bang: a doozey of an investigation by Sharon J. Riley that found many oil and gas companies aren't paying their rent to farmers and landowners across Alberta — and so taxpayers are footing the bill.

We bring you this, and so much more this week. Read on!

Carol Linnitt
Managing editor, The Narwhal

Alberta taxpayers footing bill for delinquent oil and gas companies, investigation reveals

By Sharon J. Riley

The Alberta government recoups less than 2 per cent of the taxpayer dollars it pays to landowners on behalf of companies that, for one reason or another, can't foot their own bill. Read more.

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